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Profile: Robert Lurz (Brooklyn College)
  1. Robert W. Lurz, Sharisse Kanet & Carla Krachun (2014). Animal Mindreading: A Defense of Optimistic Agnosticism. Mind and Language 29 (4):428-454.
    We recommend the attitude of optimistic agnosticism toward animal mindreading: suspending acceptance until tests succeed in overcoming Povinelli's problem, and being optimistic about the feasibility of such tests. Fletcher and Carruthers argue for sufficient reasons to accept animal mindreading; we find their arguments unconvincing. Points they raise against the behavior-reading theory apply equally to mindreading theory, and their claims of greater parsimony are unfounded. Premature acceptance of mindreading could inhibit the search for innovative ways to overcome longstanding methodological problems. Optimistic (...)
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  2. Robert W. Lurz (2012). Origins of Objectivity. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):775-781.
    Philosophical Psychology, Volume 0, Issue 0, Page 1-7, Ahead of Print.
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  3. Robert W. Lurz (2011). Belief Attribution in Animals: On How to Move Forward Conceptually and Empirically. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (1):19-59.
    There is considerable debate in comparative psychology and philosophy over whether nonhuman animals can attribute beliefs. The empirical studies that suggest that they can are shown to be inconclusive, and the main philosophical and empirical arguments that purport to show they cannot are shown to be invalid or weak. What is needed to move the debate and the field forward, it is argued, is a fundamentally new experimental protocol for testing belief attribution in animals, one capable of distinguishing genuine belief-attributing (...)
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  4. Robert W. Lurz (2011). Mindreading Animals: The Debate Over What Animals Know About Other Minds. A Bradford Book.
    But do animals know that other creatures have minds? And how would we know if they do? In "Mindreading Animals," Robert Lurz offers a fresh approach to the hotly debated question of mental-state attribution in nonhuman animals.
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  5. Robert W. Lurz & Carla Krachun (2011). How Could We Know Whether Nonhuman Primates Understand Others' Internal Goals and Intentions? Solving Povinelli's Problem. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):449-481.
    A persistent methodological problem in primate social cognition research has been how to determine experimentally whether primates represent the internal goals of other agents or just the external goals of their actions. This is an instance of Daniel Povinelli’s more general challenge that no experimental protocol currently used in the field is capable of distinguishing genuine mindreading animals from their complementary behavior-reading counterparts. We argue that current methods used to test for internal-goal attribution in primates do not solve Povinelli’s problem. (...)
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  6. Robert W. Lurz (2009). Feigning Introspective Blindness for Thought. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):153-154.
    I argue that the very reasons Carruthers gives for why the account should allow introspective access to perceptual/quasi-perceptual states, can be given for thought, as well. I also argue that we have good subjectively accessible grounds for the intuition in introspective thoughts, notwithstanding Carruthers' argument to the contrary and his attempt to explain the intuition away.
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  7. Robert W. Lurz (ed.) (2009). The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press.
    This volume is a collection of fourteen new essays by leading philosophers on issues concerning the nature, existence, and our knowledge of animal minds.
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  8. Robert W. Lurz (2008). Review: David M. Rosenthal: Consciousness and Mind. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (465):214-217.
  9. Robert W. Lurz (2007). In Defense of Wordless Thoughts About Thoughts. Mind and Language 22 (3):270–296.
    Bermúdez (2003) argues that (T1) nonlinguistic creatures can think thoughts about protocausal conditional states of affairs and engage in rudimentary forms of reasoning, but (T2) they cannot ‘in principle’ think thoughts about thoughts (propositions)—in particular, they cannot have higher-order propositional attitudes (PAs). I reconstruct Bermúdez’s argument for T2 and show that it rests upon an implausible empirical assumption and is, therefore, not a threat to current empirical research into nonlinguistic higher-order PAs. I argue that even on an interpretation of the (...)
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  10. Robert W. Lurz (2006). Conscious Beliefs and Desires: A Same-Order Approach. In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press
     
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  11. Robert W. Lurz (2004). Either FOR or HOR: A False Dichotomy. In Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.), Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology. John Benjamins
     
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  12. Robert W. Lurz (2004). In Search of the Metaphor of the Mind: A Critical Review of Baars' in the Theater of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):297 – 307.
    Metaphors of the mind abound. The mind has been metaphorically described as an aviary, a telephone switchboard, a ghost in a machine, and a computer - to name but a few. Bernard Baars, in his In the theater of consciousness, adds to this venerable list, arguing that the mind can be instructively thought of as a working theater. Baars argues for the aptness of his theater metaphor by showing how it can be used to tell "a unified story" of all (...)
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  13. Robert W. Lurz (2003). Advancing the Debate Between HOT and FO Accounts of Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 28:23-44.
    David Rosenthal and Fred Dretske agree that creature consciousness should be used to give a reductive explanation of state consciousness. They disagree, however, over what type of creature consciousness will do the job. Rosenthal, defending a higher-order thought account, argues that higher-order creature consciousness is what is needed. Dretske, defending a first-order account, argues that first-order creature consciousness is what is needed. I attempt to advance this debate by presenting a case for a third creature-conscious account of state consciousness. what (...)
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  14. Robert W. Lurz (2003). Neither Hot nor Cold: An Alternative Account of Consciousness. Psyche 8 (1).
    I identify three dominant positions in the philosophy of mind on the nature and distribution of consciousness: the exclusive HOT position, the inclusive HOT position, and the COLD position. I argue that each of these positions has its own rather counterintuitive consequence and, as a result, is not entirely satisfying. To avoid these consequences, I argue, a common assumption of the dominant positions ought to be rejected -- namely, that to be conscious of one's mental states is to be conscious (...)
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  15. Robert W. Lurz (2001). Begging the Question: A Reply to Lycan. Analysis 61 (272):313-318.
  16. Robert W. Lurz (2001). How to Solve the Distinguishability Problem: Triangulation Without Explicit Training. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1142-1143.
    Heyes's (1998) triangulation approach to distinguishing a “theory” of mind (ToM) from a “theory” of behavior (ToB) in chimpanzees fails. The ToB theorist can appeal to the explicit training sessions and analogical reasoning to explain/predict the chimpanzees' behaviors. An alternative triangulation experiment is sketched, demonstrating how the removal of such training sessions paves the way toward solving the distinguishability problem.
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  17. Robert W. Lurz (2001). Taking the First-Person Approach: Two Worries for Siewert's Sense of 'Consciousness. Psyche 7 (14).
    There are two things about Siewert's project that worry me. First, it's not clear to me that by taking Siewert's first-person approach, we can come to grasp what he means by 'consciousness'. And second, even if we are able to come to grasp what he means by this term, it's not clear to me that all the "consciousness-neglectful theoreticians of mind" - for example, Dennett, Rosenthal, and Tye - have failed to give an account of the property which Siewert's term (...)
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  18. Robert W. Lurz (2000). A Defense of First-Order Representationalist Theories of Mental-State Consciousness. Psyche 6 (1).
    Recently, Peter Carruthers has advanced the debate over first-order representationalist theories and higher-order representationalist theories of consciousness by offering two innovative arguments in support of dispositionalist HORs. In this article, I offer a limited defense of actualist FORs by showing that Carruthers' two arguments either beg the question against such accounts, equivocate on important concepts, or rest on suspect claims about our abilities to attribute phenomenal consciousness to animals. In addition, I argue that dispositionalist HORs face an apparent counterexample, one (...)
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  19. Robert W. Lurz (1999). Animal Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 24 (January):149-168.
    The question of the possibility of conscious experience in animals has had a rebirth recentIy in both philosophy and psychology. I argue that there is an account of consciousness that is perfectly consistent with many animals enjoying conscious experiences. In defending my thesis, I examine a recent account of consciousness by Peter Carruthers which denies animals conscious experiences. I argue that Carruthers’ account should be rejected on the grounds that it is unnecessarily complex, and that it fails to provide either (...)
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  20. Robert W. Lurz (1998). Animal Minds: The Possibility of Second-Order Beliefs in Non-Linguistic Animals. Dissertation, Temple University
    I defend the thesis that it is conceptually possible for non-linguistic creatures to possess second-order beliefs--that is, beliefs about their own beliefs and those of others. I defend this thesis against Donald Davidson and Jonathan Bennett who argue that the thesis is false on the grounds that non-linguistic creatures cannot manifest second-order beliefs. In reply, I present a case that I argue shows a non-linguistic creature manifesting second-order beliefs. Also, I examine and criticize two arguments of Davidson's that are designed (...)
     
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